Jewels of the emperors

Emperors generally stored a large part of their wealth in the form of jewels. After visiting many museums in China I began to have the impression that in this country it was always in the form of jade. Chinese jade is delicately carved: the soft version is carved into intricate forms, but even the hard version is shaped and embossed. There is an enormous lore around jade: wearing it wards off evil spirits, it changes colour according to your mental state, and so on. It was a pleasant surprise to then see the jewels of the emperors on display in the Forbidden City. China also had a little of almost everything else: flaming red coral, silver, gold, and pearls. The wonderful piece above incorporates both gold and pearls. The only mineral that they did not seem to have were diamonds.